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Exports

Volume 478: debated on Monday 18 September 1950

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42.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power on what general principles he takes decisions on the amount of coal allowed to be exported.

In view of the international balance of payments position of the country, and the importance of coal in the negotiation of trade agreements with foreign countries, the Government seek to provide as much coal for export as they rightly can. The amount actually provided in any period must depend, in part, on the total supplies available and, in part, on the level of the home demand for essential purposes.

May I ask the Minister whether the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power was re- flecting the view of the Cabinet when he stated that the export of coal abroad might have to stop, owing to the lack of stocks in this country?

It is, of course, true that the internal demand for coal, thanks to full employment and increased productivity, is increasing very rapidly.

Which authority, the Cabinet or the National Coal Board, decides what allocations are made?

The Government decide how much coal should be exported, and we want to export as much as we rightly can.